Gone is the portly Zeta platform and in its place is a more advanced, and lighter, obviously, Alpha rear-wheel drive platform.
It’s the same platform that underpins the new Cadllac ATS, albeit with a few modifications to make it more Camaro-esque. So don’t think it’s some two-door luxury cruiser.
It’s 200 pounds lighter than the previous generation, and it’s 28% stiffer too. With all this new engineering, ideally, you should be able to throw it around a corner with more confidence (and speed) than ever before in a V6. Naturally, I needed to find that out for myself — and while Belle Isle Park Grand Prix in Detroit may not be the quickest of tracks — the curvy setup was a perfect chance for me to do just that. (Note: In a prototype).
Jumping from fifth-gen to sixth-gen, the differences are immediately noticeable. The driver position feels more like a cockpit, giving you a stronger connection between the car and the road. It may sound silly, but something as simple as driver position can change the way you feel about a car dramatically— and that’s before you even put your foot on the gas.
From the exhaust came one of the best sounding noises a V6 has ever made. It was loud, it was burpy. Comparatively, I would say it sounds almost as good as the V6 Jaguar F-Type, which is exactly what you want in a sporty American muscle coupe.
Barreling down the straight in an updated six-speed manual (and then later an eight-speed automatic), the new driving dynamics are immediately noticeable. Buzzwords like lightness and handling danced around in my head as I threw it into the first corner as vigorously as my nerves and Chevrolet PR people would allow.
The grunt on this thing felt great. I only got a chance to drive the 3.6-liter V6, which puts out a hefty 330 horsepower and 284 lb-ft torque. That’s more than Ford’s 280 lb-ft of torque found on the V6 Mustang; though, technically, the V6 Camaro competes with the four-cylinder Mustang. Nevertheless, it was enough to keep the Z/28 chase car well in sight.
After a few laps, I was pretty sold on the 2016 Camaro already. It looks good, it’s got more power, and it’s a huge leap from where the fifth-gen once stood in terms of overall performance. I’ll have to spend some more time in it— but overall, I’d say Chevy has a real performer on its hands with this one. And not just in straight lines.